M&T Bank sign goes up at the People's United branch on West Second Street Tuesday afternoon, as People's prepares to open as M&T next Tuesday. Photo: Denise Civiletti

The upcoming holiday weekend is “transition weekend” for People’s United Bank. The Connecticut-based bank, which acquired Riverhead’s Suffolk County National Bank in 2017, merged with M&T Bank earlier this year and will cease doing business as People’s United as of Tuesday, Sept. 6.

People’s United branches will close early on Friday, Sept. 2. After 5 p.m. Friday People’s customers will no longer be able to access their accounts through People’s United mobile and online banking. People’s customers will still be able to access their accounts at ATMs, as well as debit and credit cards. Customers should begin using their M&T debit or ATM cards as of Saturday.

By Tuesday, the transition to M&T Bank’s systems will be complete. Branches will open at their regular time. Customers will be able to access their accounts through M&T mobile and online banking.

Additional information is available online here.

People’s United in March 2021 announced its acquisition by Buffalo-based M&T Bank in an all-stock transaction valued at approximately $7.6 billion.

At the time of the announcement, M&T Bank operated 716 branches in New York and the Mid-Atlantic states, including one in Riverhead, on Route 58 across from Lowe’s.

People’s United had a branch on the corner of West Second Street and Roanoke Avenue, part of the former Suffolk County National Bank’s headquarters campus. Shortly after People’s acquired Suffolk County National Bank, it closed the bank’s Ostrander Avenue branch. That site remains vacant. It was one of eight SCNB branches closed by People’s after it acquired the Riverhead bank.

Photo: Peter Blasl

At the time of its acquisition by People’s Suffolk County National Bank, chartered in 1890, was the last of four publicly chartered Riverhead-based banks. It was the second-oldest Riverhead-based banks. Riverhead Savings Bank, the oldest, was chartered by New York State in 1872 and was one of Suffolk County’s oldest banks.

People’s United Bank was even older. It was chartered in 1842. At the time of its acquisition of SCNB, it had nearly 400 retail locations in Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

The mergers and acquisitions that consumed the three other Riverhead-based banks began after World War II, when the Suffolk County Trust Company, chartered in 1910, merged with a Bay Shore Bank that was subsequently acquired by Franklin National Bank. After Franklin National Bank failed, it was taken over by European American Bank, which was later acquired by Citibank. Citibank closed its Riverhead branch on West Main Street in December 2014. Today the former Citibank building is occupied by Dime Community Bank, which merged with BNB Bank in 2021.

The Long Island State Bank and Trust Company, chartered in 1926, merged into Security Bank of Long Island in 1957. Security was later taken over by Chemical Bank. Chemical merged with JP Morgan Chase in 1996. The former Chemical Bank branch on East Main Street eventually closed after Chase bought Bank of New York, which already had a downtown Riverhead branch, in 2006.

Riverhead Savings Bank, which in 1925 built the marble building on the corner of West Main Street and Peconic Avenue, was acquired by the White Plains-based American Savings Bank in the early 1980s and operated as a subsidiary of American Savings until American was declared insolvent by state regulators in 1992. Its 39 branches were sold to other banks. The Riverhead branch was taken over by the Bank of New York. JP Morgan Chase acquired the Bank of New York’s consumer banking branches in 2006 and continues to operate the branch on the corner of Peconic and West Main.

Workers from Valley Signs in Copiague install the new M&T Bank sign outside People’s United Second Street branch in downtown Riverhead Tuesday afternoon.. Photo: Denise Civiletti
Workers install M&T Bank signs on the 45-foot-tall tower outside the People’s United branch on West Second Street Tuesday afternoon. Courtesy photo: Jeff Fleischman
An osprey in its nest atop the tower outside the former Suffolk County National Bank building on West Second Street Tuesday afternoon, unfazed by the bank’s second name change and new signs being installed since the pair first built its nest there in April 2016.
Photo: Denise Civiletti

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